UPDATE: Doug Lamborn's primary ballot spot in question

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UPDATE:

From the Doug Lamborn campaign:

U.S. Congressman Doug Lamborn released the following statement after one of his opponents sued the Secretary of State over the sufficiency of Lamborn's petition.

"This lawsuit will be dismissed soon. I have spoken to the company that gathered signatures and have been assured that all applicable laws and regulations have been followed. I look forward to continuing this spirited campaign."
——————ORIGINAL POST 1:03 P.M. WEDNESDAY, APRIL 4, 2018———————

Six-term Congressman Doug Lamborn, R-Colorado Springs, might not make the June primary ballot, if claims in a lawsuit filed April 3 are
Rep. Doug Lamborn might not have a shot at re-election. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Rep. Doug Lamborn might not have a shot at re-election.
substantiated.

The lawsuit, filed by five El Paso County residents who are registered Republicans, contends that petition circulators for Lamborn aren't actually residents of the state of Colorado, which is required of circulators.

The lawsuit asserts that seven circulators lived together in a Thornton condominium, and although they were registered to vote in Colorado, they "lack any real connection to Colorado." For example, public sources suggest several live in Michigan and another in California. The latter person also is registered to vote in Texas, the lawsuit says, and collected 269 signatures for Lamborn.

Several are members of the National Association of Professional Petitioners and Coordinators, the lawsuit says.

Moreover, the circulators who occupied the Thornton home reportedly no longer live there, or in Colorado, says Michael Francisco, the attorney who filed the lawsuit.

"We are continuing to try to track them down," he says. "Everything I've seen so far indicates they're not in Colorado."

If signatures collected by the group are disallowed, Lamborn would fall short of the 1,000 signatures of registered voters in Colorado required to place him on the ballot.

The only other candidate who has petitioned onto the ballot so far is El Paso County Commission President Darryl Glenn. State Sen. Owen Hill was nominated at the Congressional District 5 assembly on March 31, and two other candidates — Bill Rhea and Tyler Stevens — plan to petition onto the Republican primary ballot.

Ben Schler, legal and policy manager for the Colorado Secretary of State's Office, tells the Independent his office "did what we were supposed to do under the statute," which was to "determine whether these folks were on the voter registration roles" and members of the Republican Party when they circulated the petition.

He says whether the circulators had, indeed, established legitimate residency in Colorado is "outside the scope of what the Secretary of State's Office can look into." He noted when a person registers to vote, they affirm their residence is what it is.

"That is not something for us to question," Schler says.

The lawsuit gives this outline for each of the petition circulators in question:
17. Circulator Joshua Whaley who collected 206 accepted signatures does not satisfy the residence and registration requirements of Colorado law. Whaley claimed 564 W. 91st Circle, Thornton CO 80260 as his primary residence when registering to vote on 1/23/18. Whaley appears to have recently resided in Michigan and to have been affiliated with the National Association of Professional Petitioners and Coordinators.

18. Circulator Nickole Ort who circulated 73 accepted signatures does not satisfy the residence and registration requirements of Colorado law. Ort claimed 564 W. 91st Circle, Thornton CO 80260 as her primary residence when registering to vote on 2/16/18. Ort began collecting signatures one day after registering to vote. Ort appears to have recently resided in Michigan, registered vehicles in Michigan, had a drivers license issued in Michigan, lists Kalamazoo as a place of residence on a public document, and lists a phone number with a Michigan area code

19. Circulator Jeffrey Carter who collected 58 accepted signatures does not satisfy the residence and registration requirements of Colorado law. Carter claimed 564 W. 91st Circle, Thornton CO 80260 as his primary residence when registering to vote on 1/23/18.

20. Circulator Terrance Allen Despres, Jr. who circulated 42 accepted signatures, does not satisfy the residence and registration requirements of Colorado law. Despres claimed 564 W. 91st Circle, Thornton CO 80260 as his primary residence when registering to vote on 1/23/18. Despres appears to have recently resided in Michigan and to have been affiliated with the National Association of Professional Petitioners and Coordinators

21. Circulator Joshua Stinger who circulated 36 accepted signatures does not satisfy the residence and registration requirements of Colorado law. Stinger claimed 564 W. 91st Circle, Thornton CO 80260 as his primary residence when registering to vote on 1/23/18.

22. Circulator Darrell Herron who circulated 12 accepted signatures does not satisfy the residence and registration requirements of Colorado law. Herron claimed 564 W. 91st Circle, Thornton CO 80260 as his primary residence when registering to vote on 2/16/18.

23. Circulator Ryan Tipple who circulated 269 accepted signatures does not satisfy the residence and registration requirements of Colorado law. Based on information and belief, Tipple owns a home in California, has a spouse residing in California, and may be registered to vote in Texas concurrently with his purported registration in Colorado. 

The lawsuit was filed in Denver District Court, which is expected to set a hearing within a few days or weeks. Any judgment can be appealed to the Colorado Supreme Court, which has the final say, although the high court could reject the case and allow the District Court decision to stand.

Meantime, the Secretary of State's Office is preparing to print ballots, and the last possible print date is reportedly in mid-May.

Secretary of State spokesperson Lynn Bartels says via email, "Ballot certification deadline is April 27. Practically, ballots have to be in [county] clerk’s hands in time to meet the May 12 deadline to transmit to military and overseas voters."

Here's the lawsuit:
See related PDF 2018-04-03_11-33-49_Verified_Complaint_-_Kuhn_et_al_v_Williams.pdf Michael Francisco, the attorney who filed the lawsuit, says he expects a hearing to be held next week.

"It’s important for people to follow the rules," Francisco says. "This is a common occurence in Colorado. Somebody who has the expertise as Lamborn should know about these laws and that they need to be followed. It’s not that hard to comply with the law. Darryl Glenn seems to have complied. A lot of people at assembly wanted Lamborn to be there, and he skipped out."

We've also sent an email to Lamborn and will update if and when we hear something.

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